The Senate took a key vote on Tuesday to advance a long-awaited bill aimed at boosting US semiconductor production in a bid to increase American competitiveness. The vote was 64 to 32.
Final passage of the bill in the Senate is expected this week. It will then need to go to the House for approval before it can be sent to President Joe Biden for his signature.
The legislation is aimed at addressing a semiconductor chip shortage and making the US less reliant on other countries such as China for manufacturing. Senators supportive of the bill say the measure is important not only for US technological innovation, but for national security as well.
The bill sets up incentives for domestic semiconductor manufacturing as well as research and development and includes more than $50 billion in funding.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer praised the bill in remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday morning.
“It’s a major step for our economic security, our national security, our supply chains and for America’s future,” Schumer said.
“It will make historic investments to scientific research. It will take direct aim at our nation’s chip crisis,” he said, calling it, “one of the most consequential bipartisan achievements of this Congress.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise both said they plan to vote against the bill but won’t formally whip against it. McCarthy told reporters his biggest issue is with the mandatory spending, which he has raised with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Still, GOP senators are calling up House Republicans and asking them to support the legislation when it comes to the floor, according to a member on the receiving end on of one of those calls.
The bill was a big topic of discussion during a GOP whips meeting Tuesday night, where Republicans with competing viewpoints presented their perspectives on the bill: Rep. Kevin Brady argued against it, while Rep. Frank Lucas argued for it.
Leaving the meeting, a number of House Republicans were non-committal, telling CNN they are still looking at the bill.
Lawmakers are now racing the clock in an effort to finalize key priorities before leaving Washington to return to their home states and districts for the August summer recess.
In addition to the chips legislation, the Senate is also expected to soon act on a bill addressing toxic burn pit exposure that has caused harm to veterans.
“We want to finish our work on the PACT Act before the end of the week. Our nation’s veterans have waited long enough to get the benefits they need to treat the complications from toxic exposure in the line of duty,” Schumer said on Tuesday.
Senate Democrats are also hoping to move a scaled-back legislative package on a party-line vote before the August recess.
Senators are still awaiting word from the Senate parliamentarian on whether a major change in prescription drug policy – to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices – will be able to survive strict budget rules in the Senate, according to a person familiar with the matter.
If the parliamentarian does sign off, Democrats still need to make sure the final bill language has the support of West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, a key swing vote in the Senate. Democratic leaders hope to pass the bill next week but are facing a time crunch.
This story has been updated with additional developments Tuesday.
CNN’s Melanie Zanona, Manu Raju and Ted Barrett contributed to this report.